HUL To Increase Soap Prices By 5-6%
Bars of Hindustan Unilever Ltd. Lux soap are displayed for sale on a shelf at a store in Mumbai, India. 9Photographer: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg)

HUL To Increase Soap Prices By 5-6%

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Fast moving consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever Ltd. on Friday said that it would increase soaps prices by up to 6 percent in a phased manner to offset the rising cost of palm oil.

According to HUL Chief Financial Officer Srinivas Phatak, prices of palm oil in the last six months have gone up by 25 to 30 percent.

"We would take the prices up in the soap part of our portfolio. We would be looking to price up between 5 to 6 percent and they would come in a phased manner," Phatak said in a post-earnings conference call.

"We are being judicious and being calibrated," he said, adding "for skin cleansing, we are taking up prices."

HUL is the leader in the soap category and owns popular brands like Dove, Lux, Lifebuoy, Pears, Hamam, Lyril and Rexona.

However, he added that HUL is watching prices of other commodities and food prices continue to be "volatile", while there has been a clear uptick in palm oil prices.

"We have also seen uptick (in) prices in dairy and we are examining all these," he said, adding that HUL would look at pricing appropriately while maintaining its "competitiveness".

HUL reported an increase of 12.95 percent in net profit to Rs 1,631 crore for the December quarter, while net sales rose 3.87 percent to Rs 9,953 crore.

HUL Chairman and Managing Director Sanjiv Mehta said: "This quarter witnessed an overall challenging market environment, mainly reflecting a sharp slowdown in rural and discretionary spends."

Phatak added that growth was moderate over many quarters.

However, he added that due to several measures taken, there would be "uptick in due course" but the current outlook stands "sluggish".

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